VTR plc, the owner of Prime Focus London and Blue, has bought its second visual effects company in less than a month.

Machine Effects is a visual effects company founded by John Lockwood and Steve Street. It was bought this week by VTR for just over£2m with half the payment coming in cash and half in shares.

Machine Effects offers a range of visual effects services and supervision for feature films and broadcast work including script breakdown and budgeting, vfx supervision, 3D animation, compositing and digital grading.

Film credits includes Fred Claus, Elizabeth: The Golden Age and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. TV credits include ITV promos for Dancing on Ice (pictured).

Both John Lockwood and Steve Street will remain with the business and continue to work with VTR. Lockwood said of the acquisition: “Machine Effects integration into the group will allow us to concentrate on what we do best.”

VTR bought Clarke Associates, another visual effects company, earlier this month (January).

Money talk

The cash for the Machine Effects deal came via a loan from parent company Prime Focus Limited. It is charging VTR 8% interest on the loan.

Machine Effects had a turnover of£854,000 for the seven months ending 31 October 2007.

Namit Malhotra, Chairman of VTR plc and Prime Focus Group, said: “This acquisition adds to the group's global breadth, strengthening our visual effects capabilities and helping to grow our offer. Machine Effects is a strong brand with an impressive track record in the industry.”

VTR plc is the holding company of the Prime Focus UK Group which includes Prime Focus and Blue.

VTR plc's majority shareholder is Prime Focus Limited, the Indian post-production and visual effects services facility.